About 30,000 Tanzanian farmers will benefit from a partnership that will see them receive mobile services to improve their farming practices. The programme targets coffee, cotton and cocoa smallholder farmers in Tanzania under the Olam International umbrella.
The deal also brings together, Connected Farmer Alliance (CFA), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and not-for-profit organisation, TechnoServe.
Services will include text messages on how to improve farming practice, market price information for their produce and training session updates. The telecom hopes to also replace cash transactions between the farmers with mobile money, MPesa.
Vodafone Group Regional CEO, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Region Serpil Timuray, said: “In this case, mobile services are being used to enhance farmers’ lives and transform business performance at all points of the agricultural value chain. These partnerships have a powerful effect in helping rural communities develop new skills and grow revenues. Vodafone is committed to using its technology to help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers around the world.”
“Working with the CFA, we can put agriculture expertise, accurate data and payments in to the hands of smallholder farmers in real time and at considerable scale, no matter how remote. This helps to improve yields and farmer livelihoods while our business benefits from smarter operations and lower costs. Ongoing evaluation from the farmers will be fed back in to the programme,” Olam Environmental & Social Manager, South and East Africa Jeremy Dufour, said.
TechnoServe Vice President Global Development Simon Winter, said: “Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas, with the vast majority dependent on agriculture for all or part of their incomes. Growth in the agricultural sector, therefore, has been shown to be at least twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. Tanzania is a model example of this. But unlike in more developed countries, its farmers do not have sophisticated technology and infrastructure to rely on. This programme will help to change that.”